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Tripura: Deputy CM Jishnu Debbarma presents Rs 22,724 crore tax-free deficit budget

Jishnu Debbarma said the government will try to meet the budget deficit through better tax compliance austerity, transparency and simplification.

Written by Debraj Deb | Agartala |
Updated: March 19, 2021 5:59:15 pm
Deputy Chief Minister Jishnu Debbarma presents the budget in State Legislative Assembly in Agartala on Friday. (Express photo by Debraj Deb)

Tripura Deputy Chief Minister Jishnu Debbarma Friday laid a Rs 22,724.50 crore tax-free budget proposal on the first day of the State Assembly’s ongoing session, saying the state government would achieve the tax revenues largely through “better tax administration”.

In his Budget speech, Debbarma, who is also in charge of the finance portfolio, said the government is trying to improve the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) index of Tripura and realise Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s vision of a ‘New India’ by turning the state into a self-reliant economy.

“In the budget estimates for 2021-22, no new tax measures are proposed. The increase in tax revenues in 2021-22 shall be achieved largely through better tax administration,” the Deputy CM said.

Debbarma said the Budget would heavily stress on tourism, Information Technology (IT), agriculture and allied sector, health and education among other thrust sectors.

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However, the proposal does have a budget deficit of Rs 773.323 crores, which Debbarma said the government will try to meet with better tax compliance austerity, transparency and simplification.

“We have found better output is possible in friendly tax regime,” he said.

While claiming that the deficit in budgetary outlay was caused due to shortfall in growth during the coronavirus pandemic, the Debbarma clarified that Tripura got 21 per cent higher state share of central taxes in 2020-21 compared to 2019-20.

He also said wages given under MGNREGA and government schemes to aid the poor during lockdown and assistance rolled out by donors largely cushioned the blow due to the pandemic and lockdown.

The government announced 3 per cent Dearness Allowance (DA) for government employees and DR for pensioners in the midst of this, though it was for the first time in last three years of the BJP-IPFT government.

Deputy Chief Minister Jishnu Debbarma briefs media about salient features of budget proposal. (Express photo by Debraj Deb)

The 2021-22 budget outlay has allocated the highest growth of funds in the tourism sector – Rs 15.50 crores against Rs 7.14 per cent in revised estimates of current financial year, marking a 217.09 per cent increase, followed by the Information and Technology (IT) sector which saw 197.94 per cent increase. The agriculture and allied sectors saw 140.91 per cent increase while the fund allocation for the health sector saw 136.55 per cent increase.

The lowest growth in fund allocation was seen in the education sector. While fund allocation in the education sector grew from Rs 3810.96 crores to Rs 4,152.62 crores, the growth in fund allocation was 108.97 per cent. However, a glance at the department-wise allocation shows the education department has enjoyed one of the highest share of the budgetary provision in the estimates with 18.27 per cent of the total budget quantum allocated for the education sector.

Meanwhile, Tripura is under a loan of Rs 3,493.98 crores, including market loans, loans for NABARD, NCDC, state plan scheme loans and non-plan loans.

According to an estimated breakup of sources and usage of funds, Tripura would be spending 30.78 per cent for salary and wages in 2021-22, 13.91 per cent for pension and other retirement benefits, 6.05 per cent for payment of interest, 3.02 per cent for repaying loans, 25.56 per cent for other expenditure and 20.68 per cent for implementing centrally sponsored schemes.

The budget has proposed a new scheme called Chief Minister’s Swanirbhar Parivar Yojana for self-sufficiency under the Atmanirbhar Tripura project, rolled out proposals for a National Law University at Agartala, 10 bio-villages to boost organic farming in addition to 6,000 hectare existing cultivable area under organic farming, 10 mobile planetariums to promote scientific thinking among children across the districts, turning the now-vacant Pushpabanta Palace, which once housed Raj Bhavan, into a National Modern Art Gallery and a host of new schemes.

These ambitious schemes and projects include Chief Minister’s model village scheme, the establishment of School of Excellence, construction of new Tripura Bhawan at Khargar in Mumbai to aid cancer patients visiting there for treatment, construction of separate buildings for each deparment, a new police headquarter building to replace the ageing structure, Mukhyamantri Pushpa Uddan Prakalpa, Chief Minister’s Rubber Mission and a monthly honourarium of Rs 2,000 to chiefs of indigenous tribal communities of Tripura.

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